Dare we say it? Detox. After the wonderful indulgences of the festive period we can't help but feel in need of a period of cleansing. This traditionally cold and bleak time, when daylight is still short and money is tight, sometimes feels at odds with New Year zeal.
So don't feel bad if you're not yet raring to go - just relax, wrap up warm and put the quinoa on, because Real Foods has a different way to detox.
Salads can wait
Those light, summery salads can wait, while we get back to comforting basics. This New year, try a hearty wholefoods detox based on healthy grains, pulses and seasonal veg.
Add Aduki beans to soups, stews and rice dishes. When simmered with rice, these beans give the rice a nice purple tone.
You, along with your doctor if necessary, can decide how long to detox for and how many foods to cut out. Usually the following are avoided on a detox: meat, eggs, dairy, caffeine, sugar, alcohol and gluten.
A hearty wholefoods detox
So, you've decided which foods to cut out. Now, what to replace them with so you don't feel deprived?
Real Foods' Essentials and Organic ranges
Real Foods has over 50 years' experience in gathering the finest, most nutritionally-rich grains and pulses from around the world, from everyday butter beans to black quinoa. We have our own Essentials and Organic ranges of pre-packed wholefoods, and we pass on the savings of buying in bulk to you.
Look out for the full list of Essentials and Organic products shown above, available in print from either of our stores, or by email. If you would like a copy by email please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Cook leaflets
Our How to Cook guides are available in store and online, to help you get to know our more unusual grains and pulses as well as suggesting new ways to use more familiar ones.
Try different types of grain for your porridge in the morning, like amaranth or millet with a sprinkling of chopped, dried fruit. Add heartiness to soups with tasty lentils and bulk-up warm veg salads with beans, chickpeas or healthy brown rice.
Here are the How to Cook guides available to read right here on our website:
Our website offers over 10,000 products and is packed with health advice, helpful articles and recipes using wholefoods. This can all now be accessed in-store on our iPads. Just ask our friendly staff. You can also filter our webshop to see only gluten-free products - handy for choosing wholegrains for your detox.
First of all, the very word detox will have some scientists rolling their eyes. The human body has an amazing ability to look after itself as long as you have a varied diet, lots of water and regular exercise. Severe fasts or extreme diets based on dodgy science will not help you out in the long run. Here's what will help... and some quick fixes too!
Drink water. LOTS of it. It's recommended that you drink 6 - 8 glasses a day (1.2 litres approximately), more if you are recovering from a hangover, having strenuous exercise or overheated. The vast majority of the chemical reactions that occur in your cells need water to carry them out. If your urine is coloured and you're suffering from headaches, lack of concentration or are irritable the chances are you're dehydrated. Many people find themselves mistaking thirst for hunger so have a glass of water first and then see if you're still peckish. Obviously you can get water through your food and flavoured drinks, try to avoid the sugary ones though! Try Thorncorft Vineyard's detox cordial
for a refreshing drink (with no added sugar). Or try one of the detox teas from Clipper, Dr Stuart's, Yogi and Pukka.
If you've been drinking alcohol and smoking. Stop. Your liver function can return to normal remarkably quickly but not if you're continuing to poison it. You can reintroduce your favourite foods in moderation and the odd tipple also, but smoking will undo most of your good work. Talk to your doctor if you are having trouble stopping as there is a range of free advice and supplementary prescriptions to help you stop. Alternatively try the herbal tobacco to help you if you waver (it's still not good for you, but at least they don't contain nicotine so you'll smoke far fewer).
. You need the vitamins, minerals and fibre of fruits and vegetables. Not only that but they're in a remarkably easily digestible form. Not to say you shouldn't be taking a multi vitamin
to boost your intake, but start with the basics FIRST. That means a bare minimum of 5 portions a day (that's roughly 80 grams of fresh or 30 grams of dried fruit
). Frankly that's not much. A small glass of orange juice with your breakfast, with some berries sprinkled on your porridge? That's 2 already. Take an apple for snacking on a work and a handful of banana chips
for the mid afternoon slump. Throw in a slice of melon for dessert at dinner and that's 5 from fruit alone! Try some of our recipes for tasty vegetarian meals
, or whip up a raw food
extravaganza and impress your mates!
Exercise. Raise your heart rate for a minimum of 20 minutes 3 or 4 times a week to mainitain fitness. Do a little more to achieve fitness. If you haven't done any fpor a while, start slowly. Always warm up and try something a little more fun if you're feeling blue about joining a gym. A walk in the fresh air with a friend, or ice skating with some kids will still get your heart rate up. Here are some tips on exercising as you get older to help inspire you.
Hopefully our detox advice takes the bleakness out of back to basics, so here's to a happy, healthy start to 2016.